The alien occupation show from Lost’s Carlton Cuse, where collaboration means survival
America is occupied by an invading alien force in Colony.
IT’S INFORMED BY HISTORY
1 Since the ending of Lost, Carlton Cuse has firmly embraced his genre credibility, developing and co-showrunning a host of dramas from The Strain to Bates Motel. For this latest series, Colony, Cuse tells Red Alert that the idea came from World War Two. “[Writer] Ryan Condal and I are both interested in WW2 and we had seen these pictures of affluent Parisians sitting in sidewalk cafes drinking espressos while Nazi stormtroopers are going by in the streets. We thought is there some way to do that in a modern context?”
THERE ARE ALIENS IN AMERICA
2 Colony posits a current reality where an alien force hovering in massive ships let humanity live a semi-normal existence. “We came up with Los Angeles being occupied by this mysterious invading force,” Cuse explains. “We tried really hard to subvert all the traditional expectations for an alien invasion show like Falling Skies, where we are literally at war with alien beings. That’s not what we wanted the show to be about. We wanted it to be about how reordering society affects the interpersonal relationships of people. There’s this incredible propensity humans have to subjugate one another when given the opportunity and that’s what we want to explore.”
3 Cuse worked with Josh Holloway for six years on Lost and admits he wrote Colony with Holloway in mind as the lead, Will Bowman. “I did not have a shadow of a doubt that he would kill in this part,” Cuse enthuses. “Will is a family guy with three kids and he’s been separated from one of his kids, so his focus is external. How do I put my family back together and then how do I keep them safe is his agenda.”
FAMILY IS EVERYTHING
4 Together with his wife, Katie, played by The Walking Dead’s Sarah Wayne Callies, Will has to figure out what to do when he’s asked by the alien’s human proxy, Snyder (Peter Jacobson), to monitor his peers and report back. “It’s about the choices we all make,” Cuse offers. “Will and Katie make distinct choices that are separate from one another because they each believe that the choice they’re making is the best for their family. It’s interesting to see they can make these diametrically opposed choices but be firmly and irrevocably convinced that they are each doing the right thing.”
THERE ARE BIG SECRETS
5 Aside from ships and some tech, Colony doesn’t reveal much about our new overlords. Cuse says that’s for a reason. “The audience really only knows as much as the characters and the characters are trying to learn about the world they live in. We didn’t want to have some character give us this big expositional download which wasn’t interesting at all. So over the course of the first 10 hours you will learn a fair amount more but there will still be existing mysteries. The [characters] won’t know everything about the world by the end of the first season for sure.”
Colony airs on USA Network from 14 January. A UK channel is TBC.